Kia has hit the accelerator on its electric-car launch plans, with 14 models due in overseas showrooms by 2027 – including two utes, numerous small cars and, next year, a large SUV.
South Korean car maker Kia has expanded its electric vehicle (EV) plans to introduce 14 models by 2027 – including two new utes, and a large seven-seat SUV known as the Kia EV9.
An increase from a target of 11 electric vehicles (EVs) by 2027 announced a year ago, Kia has told investors it plans to sell 807,000 electric cars in 2026, increasing to 1.2 million annually by the end of the decade – and will reveal at least two new EVs each year between 2023 and 2027.
Kia Australia is yet to confirm any of these models for local showrooms, however given strong demand for the EV6 already on sale, the company has shown interest in growing its range of electric cars – amid a rapidly increasing electric-car market locally.
Commencing Kia’s electric-car onslaught will be the EV9 large SUV – the production version of the Concept EV9 revealed late last year, and the largest vehicle based on the Hyundai-Kia group’s jointly-developed E-GMP dedicated electric architecture.
Kia says the production model of the EV9 SUV will measure approximately five metres long (the concept quoted 4930mm), be capable of being driven 540km on a single charge, offer fast charging good for 100km of range in six minutes, and has a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of about five seconds (similar performance to a Kia Stinger twin-turbo V6).
While battery capacity and charging speeds are yet to be confirmed, the smaller and more aerodynamic Kia EV6 hatchback is capable of 500km driving range (according to Kia’s presentation), and adding 100km of range in four minutes – indicating the EV9 will come with a significantly larger battery than its sibling.
In case those figures aren’t enough for some buyers, Kia says it will offer a high-performance GT version of every new electric car it launches, including the EV9 – though rather than outright acceleration, Kia says the EV9 GT will focus on “rich performance” and “prestige with power”.
The EV9 will debut a new ‘AutoMode’ suite of semi-autonomous driving technologies – certified to Level 3 standards – allowing the car to drive itself in certain circumstances with human supervision, and be capable of automatic lane changes on freeways.
Kia claims it will introduce “full autonomous driving” in 2025 or 2026, which will be fitted to “100 per cent of new cars in major markets and 80 per cent of total sales”, according to Kia CEO Ho Sung Song.
It appears the 2023 EV9 will retain many of the 2021 Concept EV9’s features, including dimmable ‘Smart Glass’, seats that can rotate 90 degrees, a 27-inch widescreen display across the dashboard, a ‘Digital Tiger Face’ front-end design, and a range of sustainable materials.
Kia plots electric vehicle onslaught by 2027
Electric vehicle launch plans shown during a presentation to investors reveal the EV9 will be joined in 2023 by a passenger car – believed to be a mid-size car for the Chinese market – and another SUV.
Another passenger car and SUV will follow in 2024, two more SUVs in 2025, and one passenger car and two utes in 2026 (click here for more detailed on these) – with one final SUV concluding the rollout in 2027, for a total of 14 models on sale.
New in the 2022 electric car plan – compared to that announced in 2021 – is an “entry” electric vehicle aimed at emerging markets, likely a Picanto-sized city car that’s set to be built in India.
While EV9 production is likely to take place in South Korea, Kia has confirmed certain large electric SUVs and utes will be built in the US from 2024, city-sized and small electric cars in Europe from 2025, and “entry and mid-size EV models” in India that same year.
All of these models will be offered with a high-performance GT model – though the approaches each will take will differ based on their size and positioning, with the mid-size models to be the sportiest of the bunch.
These plans are targeted to see Kia electric car sales increase from 160,000 in 2022, to 807,000 in 2026, and 1.2 million in 2030 – the latter 36 per cent higher than the 2030 target announced by Kia a year ago.
Joining the electric vehicles will be a range of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, which Kia estimates will account for 52 per cent of its global sales by 2030 – up from an estimated 17 per cent in 2022.
While Kia plans to have electric cars account for 45 per cent of sales by 2030 (or 78 per cent with hybrids added) in “major markets” – before going all-electric in these areas by 2040 – Australia isn’t included as one of these regions.
In addition to the aforementioned autonomous driving technology, Kia will roll out over-the-air updates across its entire model range by 2025.
It has also announced plans to increase its battery supply from 13 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to 119GWh by 2030 – equivalent to 1.5 million Kia EV6 mid-size SUVs (with the 77.4kWh ‘long range’ battery) – with battery energy density and costs to increase by 50 per cent, and decrease by 40 per cent by the same time.
A range of “purpose-built vehicles” will also be introduced overseas, targeted at delivery services, ride sharing, taxis, and other industries. The first model will be a modified version of the Niro small SUV, with dedicated electric models to follow.
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